Letters from Mom October 2014

October 20, 2014

Yay!  Meg's team is going to state again this year - super excited! They lost to Sugar for the district championships, 1-0... heartbreaking game!  But they won the play-in game against Malad (their first year having a school girls soccer team) 2-1 and are heading to Twin Falls for the state tourney on Wednesday.  They are really excited.  I'm not sure how far we will get in that tournament, but... we're going!  So that's the thing.

How are you, my dearest?  I hope your week went well - it sounds like you're crazy busy!  Sometimes managing time and energy is one of those difficult lessons to learn.  Don't forget to un-string the bow from time to time, my dear.  I'm sure you're doing well, but the added pressure of additional responsibility with your other work can slowly become a heavy weight - so slowly you don't even acknowledge it happening - and then it can surprise you and become a burden that can no longer be ignored.  So, don't forget to relax from time to time.  Find something you enjoy that feeds your mind/body/soul that is not necessarily missionary/zone leader related and do that thing: Sing, learn the guitar, learn sign language, do push ups, take up knot tying, learn Chilean folk dances or songs or stories, take a leisurely stroll for 10 minutes (I know you guys walk a lot, but do you walk leisurely AND look around just to look?), do the Harlem Shake, swing.... something.  Just unstring the bow, my love.   This will be an important principle for you to learn as you move from missionary life to college life, to married and college life, to married and a new baby and college life, etc.  especially if you are still thinking about medical school.  

This may not have any application to you right now, but I felt to say it and so I did.  So there you go.  :)  Take it for what you will.  I love you.

Katie and Jake spoke in church yesterday.  They did a fabulous job, both of them!  I was especially touched by Jake's talk.  He referenced President Uchtdorf's talk about the universe and light, and talked about how we gain light line upon line and are then proven with that amount of light (D&C 98:12) before we are given more.  He talked about how we aren't simply flooded with light (or at least very few of us are, namely Joseph Smith, but even he was given it incrementally) because it would overwhelm us and even damage us, like leaving a dark room and coming into the sunshine or staring at the sun for too long.  And yet, we need to leave the darkness, we need to leave the noise of the worldly and false "light" in order to see more clearly.  He referenced the city of Flagstaff that is a dark city, meaning there are city ordinances about not having lights too bright or glaring, to accommodate the observatory that is there - too much artificial light creates noise that makes it impossible to see the heavens and the universe truly and clearly.  He compared that to our own lives. It was very, very cool.  Anyway, after he finished speaking, Janie said, "He should be a seminary teacher!"  Consequently, now that Jake is done helping with the potato harvest, he is currently unemployed.  Katie has a job as a dental hygienist, but Jake is currently out of work.  However, he has all but one class and student teaching completed for seminary teaching.  He hasn't done seminary teaching because you don't get paid to do the student teaching portion.  So Katie and I were talking about how they felt it was right, even compelled, to move back to Idaho; they are living with Grandma & Grandpa Price; Katie has a full time job... I wondered aloud with her if maybe now was the right time and place for Jake to finish his seminary teaching certification.  Anyway, it's kind of a cool thought, Jake as a seminary teacher.  Yeah?

There is no other amazing or stunning news.  We're all just working and living... striving for additional light, line upon line, as we go through our various tests/proving grounds. Life is good.  We're anxious to hear from you!  Know that you are loved, my dear one!  

OH!  I was just thinking that it's only two months before we get to talk to you/Skype with you and I thought about Christmas.  So, about your socks and stuff... so if you have anything that is getting worn out: socks, shoes, suits, shirts, etc. be sure to send pictures of the worn knees of suit pants or toes of socks or soles of shoes, etc.... Missionary Mall will replace them.  That said, do you have anything you wish to ADD to the list you sent a month ago when I asked about your birthday?  Christmas is coming!  It's your last Christmas in the field!  What can we do to make it awesome?



sometimes its just wierd to think about the fact that one day all of this will end... im gonna miss it a ton... im gonna have to go home one day like evryone else... wierd. 

that would be cool! is that his plan or is he currently just working on random other stuff? wow. 

Christmas! man! that time has flown by! ummm i will make sure to send you some pics next week, but my stuff in general is in decent shape, sadly i forgot about the 2 year thing with some socks and i threw two of them out already that had terrible holes in the tow and the heel. about the package, dont send me much! just like save it and by me something when i get home! i dont need anything right now, except for chapstick, but im afraid it will just melt in the package. christmas here will never be awesome, im sorry, but the thing that makes it awesome is being with YOU GUYS, so dont worry about that. seriously. candy, a tie... but just dont go big. 

thanks mom, love ya!

October 13, 2014

I love October.  It is my favorite month of the year.  I love the cooler weather and the color of the light - it's more golden.  I love the color in the trees and how all the leaves fall and rustle and look so spooky.  Ah!  I love it!  hahaha  It is most definitely getting cooler, though!  It was 40 degrees as I drove into school this morning, and I think we might get up to 55 degrees today.  Brrr!  Of course, for you, it's just starting to warm up, yeah?  

It is so great to hear that you are doing well, my dear.  You just seem to be having inner peace and loving the work that you are doing, even though it is crazy busy!  I think most people thrive with some degree of busy-ness.  In my education classes at BYU-I, we called it "Zone of Proximal Development" (ZPD) where students were being stretched, but not to the breaking point - challenged, but not overwhelmed.  That is our goal as teachers (or at least it's supposed to be) to find that ZPD for all students.  Anyway, I do better when I am a little stretched, when I am within that ZPD, than when I have loads of time to try to fill with something.  It sounds like you may be the same way.  That's a good thing.  Anyway, I am happy to feel your positive energy through your letters.  You seem to be really enjoying this stage of your work in the mission field, and I'm so glad.  We look forward to hearing from you again today!

Life at home is good.  This past week I have felt that I may be reaching the upper extreme of my ZPD, however! hahaha  We are just at a very busy stage of life, and after the time in Tennessee it's been kind a brutal week of readjustment.  But that's OK!  We are grateful to have things to do, activities to participate in, classes to learn from, and family to visit.  Between Meg's games, play practice, church meetings, the Family-to-Family class, stake choir, date night, birthday parties, and other activities we've hardly been home this week!  hahaha  But, we are grateful - and I am grateful that, even though I seem to be gone alot, I am usually gone WITH Meg or Janie or Russ.  Sam... not so much.  He is at home mostly, but he will come, go, and do with us when asked, so that's good.  Anyway, it's great to be doing the play WITH Janie and to have soccer team lunches in my classroom WITH Meg... I feel so grateful to be in the high school right now doing things WITH my kids.  I wonder what will happen in 5 years when Janie is gone... will I still have this fire?  Ah well, I will cross that bridge when I get there. 

So, Sam.  You've asked about him and I don't know that I've given much of an update.  So, here is a full update on your brother.  Sam seems to be stabilized right now as far as his meds go.  He doesn't seem to be as deeply depressed, laying on the sofa staring at the wall, or as aggressively critical or hypersensitive as he was even a month ago.  He is actually pleasant at times.  He still prefers to be on his own, away from people - he does nothing with friends anymore - he cares very little about his personal hygiene (he wears the same sweats and t-shirts for days on end), loves to eat sweets and drink soda (I currently weigh less than he does right now), and is utterly content to play his computer games for 10 hours a day.  While this is not a very healthy lifestyle, and while we would NEVER allow this behavior for any of the rest of you guys, we are content with stability for now.  I think that over the next few years we will see Sam's illness develop into what it really is going to be.  The bipolar element of his illness is becoming more apparent - we can more easily see hypomanic moods and depressive moods, and the thought disorder element is a little more clear, too.  He is not floridly psychotic, but he does have some odd thought processes that are indicative of the thought disorder.  This family-to-family class has been really great, actually.  We've learned a lot, although some of it we wish we didn't have to learn.  For example, it can take up to 2 years to recover from a psychotic episode.  That fact alone has helped me to understand why it has taken more than 18 months to get Sam stabilized.  Another sad fact is that with every episode, the brain deteriorates a little more - they never seem to return to where they were before the psychotic break.  A happy fact is that there can be years between psychotic episodes - years of stability (with medication) for the loved one.  So it seems that we are entering that period - a period of stability - and so we will be grateful for however long that lasts.  We are learning to go slowly with Sam, to take things one tiny little step at a time, and then allowing him to get used to that little step before inviting him to take another.  We have started allowing him to take a more active role in the management of the house.  He has embraced this since, as he says, "I'm home all day long."  So we gave him the task of managing how to get dishes done when everyone is running about - the plan of "this is your day" has been failing miserably for the past few months.  So, Sam came up with a plan and implemented it, and it has worked marvelously.  The kitchen is almost always sparkling clean!  Because of this success, Dad and I are looking at other things we can give to Sam to give him some responsibility as well as some sense of success.  We're going to ask him to start doing the grocery shopping - we'll provide the list, menu, and money, but invite/request him do the actual shopping once a week.  In January, he will begin to receive disability checks (as an adult), and so Dad and I are thinking about ways that we can help him use that money to develop skills and responsibility so that he might, one day, be ready to move out and be on his own.  (Happily, he is no longer driven to move out asap - I'm so glad!  That really worried me, especially after hearing other people's stories about how their mentally ill children were taken advantage of and became addicted to various things when they were out on their own...and then, eventually, moved back home.)  Additionally, we really don't love the idea of Sam receiving a check each month simply for existing.  So, we're currently planning (we'll see how this goes) to sit down with him and discuss how he can use that money responsibly.  We're considering asking him to pay a little rent (that idea feels so weird... ask our son to pay rent?  If any of you needed to move home for a while - between semesters or something - we wouldn't dream of asking you to pay rent, but where Sam will probably be with us long term.... I dunno.  Ya know?).  We'll probably encourage him to get his own cell phone plan, pay for his own car insurance, save some money for future expenditures... I think the "rent" will help to pay for internet usage and food.  Then, we'll have him help with things around the house, like the grocery shopping and possibly even more things (like matching insurance forms with medical bills - things that are tedious and take time that we don't have!) around the house.  Hopefully, these little things will give him some sense of accomplishment, success, some good feelings and possible create  spark to motivate him to do more.  Also, we'll feel MUCH better about supporting him if/when he wants to move out on his own if we can see that he knows how to manage himself and his money effectively.  

So, there is the current update on Sam.

 Meg had a nice time at homecoming.  It wasn't a "stellar" date because her date, Lisandro "Lee" Carretero, (who has a big ol' crush on Meg) was pretty quiet during the date and mostly just followed her around, but she had fun.  She is old enough to go on dates!  Holy frijoles! It's just so crazy.

  Sadly, just as she was getting ready to leave on her day date (they played laser tag at a fun place in Rexburg, ate ice cream, and played around) Jake and Katie's dog, Annie, ran into the road and collided with a motorcycle.  Annie died, but the motorcycle guy was a little injured (he didn't crash, but both he and his new Harley Davidson got hurt when they hit Annie), so they called 911.  I was the only adult on the premises since Grandpa is in Colorado doing a project, Grandma was at the temple, and Jake and Katie were in Rexburg, so by default I got to deal with the whole bruhaha.  So Meg is leaving for her date just as 2 QRU and an ambulance, sirens blaring, are driving up PLUS 2 Sherrif's cars - sirens and lights afire.  Yeah.  It was pretty ridiculous.  I think they said "motorcycle accident" and so they brought in the cavalry, but the guy just had bruises on his ankle.  It was quite the drama!  hahaha  A nice memorable moment for Meg's first date (with someone she wasn't related to).

Well, today is the first district game for the soccer teams.  With the loss last week - oh yeah, Meg's team lost to Sugar 1-0 in a really poorly officiated game last week (it was SUPER frustrating) - we are now in second place, so we play Teton today, both the boys and the girls, and if we win they play for the championship on Wednesday at North Fremont.  It will be a nail biter!  Teton has good soccer teams!  

OK.  I can't think of anything else.  I'm sure there is more to say, but I'll just have to wait until next week, I guess.  hahaha  Oh, the boys FB team broke their losing streak and beat South Fremont... they were up by ten and then down by four at the start of the fourth quarter, 14-10 South Fremont.  And then, in the last six minutes, we had interceptions that became touchdowns, again and again, and just lit on fire - final score was 44 to 14.  Ca-razy!  AND, Meg won a silver medal in the Russet Olympics for the "Scooter Long Jump"  where she had to ride a scooter across the floor, up a ramp, and then onto a mat - she just missed the gold behind the seniors.  It was epic.

OK that is it for real.



when i was listening to conference saturday night there was a talk that i thought could be applicable to the sam situation... from Dallin H. Oaks on saturday night..  "The most important setting to forgo contention and practice respect for differences is in our homes and family relationships. Differences are inevitable—some minor and some major. As to major differences, suppose a family member is in a cohabitation relationship. That brings two important values into conflict—our love for the family member and our commitment to the commandments. Following the Savior’s example, we can show loving-kindness and still be firm in the truth by forgoing actions that facilitate or seem to condone what we know to be wrong."

When i heard it i just thought about sam... hope that doesnt come a cross wrong, and im not judging in the slightest, i just thought about sam and thought i would share it. i know you guys are doing everything you can to help him. i thought alot about sam on saturday night session... im really glad that my brother has 2 awesome parents to help him out like you guys, its a big trial, but i know that he can do it, and that he has lots and lots of support. thanks for the update on everyone!

love ya!

October 5, 2014

That is the word for the day - ZOOM!  hahahaha  

So I had a great time in Tennessee - I could move there, seriously - spending time with the Petersons.  It is a different kind of busy from what I'm used to, so it really was like a little vacation: doing dishes, helping with homework, changing diapers, reading stories... and then, I came home and... ZOOM!   hahahaha  Like I said, it's a different kind of busy... much more intense, like a sprint instead of a jog. 

Dad and the other kids picked me up from the airport on Friday around 1:45 (we'd had some bad weather in Atlanta, so we were delayed getting off the ground... and we had a pretty bumpy/turbulent ride), and then we went to get some lunch, stopped at a DI to find a coat for me because we were going to the BYU football game and I no longer have a coat/jacket that fits!  Then we made it to the hotel and hung out for an hour or so, visited with Boyd and LeAnn & Tommy who came down also and were staying in the same hotel, and then got ready to go to the game.  
The traffic was ca-razy because it was against Utah State, so there were lots of Aggies fans on the road as well as BYU die-hards.  We finally found a place to park and walked down to the stadium.  It was a lot of fun!  It's really fun to be there - a fun atmosphere - although some of the fans were a little too crazy for my liking!  It's probably because Utah State killed us 35 to 17 and we had some major injuries - Taysom Hill br:oke his leg! - and so the die-hards were frustrated.  Still... So I had been up since 5am Eastern time, but the game started at 8:15 Mountain time, and it lasted for FOUR HOURS!  We didn't get back to the hotel until 1:30 because the traffic was simply nuts-o!  Then we were up at 8 the next morning for breakfast and to watch General Conference. Wasn't General Conference just wonderful?  I mean, aside from the powerful and timely messages, I loved the new mode of allowing some of the general authorities from other nations to speak in their native languages.  That was really great, I thought.  I also loved and was deeply appreciative of the continuing theme of living prophets - it made me wonder what is coming down the road.  hahaha
So, Saturday morning, we continue with the ZOOM.  After breakfast and conference, we rushed to get ready to go to General Conference in the Conference Center with Boyd and LeAnn and Tommy.  Once again, traffic/parking was crazy.  It was a little disconcerting to see members of the church behaving so rudely as they hurry to go and listen to latter day prophets, ya know?  Not all were like that, but enough people were like that that I was not impressed.  Anyway, General Conference was really wonderful.  It was great to be in the conference center, to see so many people of different nationalities in attendance, to see the prophets and leaders of the church (although they were more like little pinpricks because we were so far away, hahaha)  It was a great experience for Meg and Janie and Dad and I.  Sam did not attend.  We invited him repeatedly, even invited him to come in as he was standing outside the conference center with us wearing his sweats and t-shirt, but he politely refused....repeatedly.  Then he made someone happy by giving them his ticket to conference before he walked around the mall across the street and bought a new board game, which he is really excited about.  Ah well... we'll keep inviting.  After conference we battled the crazy traffic/parking once again and then met for dinner at Tucanos in Salt Lake.  After eating until we were completely stuffed, the Prices drove back to Idaho and the rest of us drove back to our hotel in Draper to change our clothes and go BACK to BYU to watch a women's volleyball game.  And THEN after the game we met Clark and Lindsay in Pleasant Grove for ice cream at Sub Zero... at 10pm. hahaha  So, then we were back to the hotel to DROP into bed - we were all so tired! - and then woke up this morning in time to eat breakfast at the hotel and then watch the morning session of conference.  So amazing.  Then we packed up and went to Grandma & Grandpa Gold's house for a visit and lunch.  

They are doing well.  Grandma Gold retired nearly a month ago, and they spent the better part of three weeks touring Italy.  So, now, they are both at home, both retired.  They will be flexing their time between their home in St. George and their home in Salt Lake.  They may even come and watch Meg play soccer in the state tournament in Twin Falls... our jaws dropped.  

After leaving the Golds, we began our trip homeward... at last!  We got to Willard Bay and had to make a potty stop.  As I was leaving the ladies room, who should be entering but Aunt Mickaela and her two little girls!  They were on their way home from Idaho!  So we stopped and talked to all of them for a while before we made the rest of the trip home... But we're not done yet!  We parked the burb at home and then walked across the lawn because Grandma Price had invited us all over to her house for treats.  Grandpa Price is going to be in North Dakota for the next few weeks overseeing the transition of business merger he is helping with in the oil fields.  So he'll be out there - I think he'll acutally be in Montana, but will be doing business in North Dakota? - for two weeks, then home for two weeks, then gone again for two weeks.  So, Grandma wanted everyone to get together.  Finally, around 9:00 we walked back across the lawn to unload the suburban, unpack our bags, and get ready for bed.  Whew!  Like I said, ZOOM!  

It is an intense kind of busy for us right now!  But it has been very fun trip, and I feel really blessed that we were able to enjoy that time together as a family.  Sam was actually really pleasant to be with.  I don't know if it's a positive change in his medications, a hypo-manic episode, or if it's just that I was away for two weeks and was able to see him with fresh eyes, but he was actually kind of fun!  hahaha  He participated!  He was engaged in the football game and the volleyball game.  He wasn't withdrawn and isolating himself as he seems to do when he is down.  He still had a lot to say - a lot of knowledge to impart to everyone - but it wasn't terribly overbearing.  He seemed to be a little more sensitive to conversation and was willing to let others share their ideas.  He was generous!  He paid for things - offering to do nice things for others!  That was kind of a big deal.  Anyway, it was a nice trip with him, too!

So, there you go.  Now it's your turn.  Tell us about your experiences.  What is "a day in the life" for you these days?  And, do you hear anything from Elder Jimenez?  I hope he is doing alright.  This must be a really difficult time for him and for his family - I hope he will be well.  We're grateful for the good report on your knee.  That is such a great blessing.  I love you soo, so much my dearest.  

OH!  Random news:  Indigo Young got called to serve in Russia... did you know her at all?  Sarah Roy has a pretty good love interest going on - fingers crossed for her!  Meg was mentioned in the newspaper again and was named player of the game last week against Teton.  Their team is ranked #1 in the state right now!  Shelley football, unfortunately, was destroyed by Snake River, 19-0, on Friday.  Ugh.  Not a happy day for those guys.  And, Janie got her braces off (see the pics in One Drive) - she looks gorgeous and she loves to eat corn on the cob!  hahahaha  OH, yeah, and Randy Bauer was in the MTC choir for Conference during the Priesthood session - did you happen to see him?  Owen Tanner is experiencing his first week in the Philippines - it will be interesting to hear how things go for him!  AND Zach and Carrie are 99% cleared to adopt all four of their kids next spring, which is really wonderful.  They are planning to be sealed in April/May after Jordan gets home.   OK, so that is all I can think of for now.  


Wow! talk about zoom! thats awesome! yes i have heard a little from Elder Jimenez... he is doing alright... still... hiding, but thats ok, im sure he will figure out how to cope with it a little betetr. Janie is looking wonderful!  and yes i knew indi! thats sweet! just a lot of stuff! thats so awesome! and i did see Randy! i about peed my pants! i looked like an idiot! i imediately pointed and said loudly "there he is! thats my friend!" fun times :)

Also! how awesome was it to have people speaking their native languages! CHINESE! SWEET! And i definately switched rooms for the 2 spanish speakers, way better in the native language :) good times! and portuguese is really similar to spanish, i was able to understand LOTS of what he said. just forgot to comment that... take care! bye!

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